Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's on the Grill #239: Grilled Lamb Kebabs w/Feta Mint Dip

I love lamb.  A lot.  I'm really not sure where this relationship started, as growing up we never had lamb.  Growing up we had chicken.  I don't love chicken, which everyone knows and…I'm suddenly beginning to sense a pattern on my food likes.

Anyway, I've had a craving for lamb lately and when perusing my new Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, the lamb kebabs immediately jumped out.  However, it wasn't just the kebabs that pushed me over, it was the Feta Mint Dip.  I love dips too.

Lamb & Sauce

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Sweet Curry Marinade w/Buttermilk Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

Marinade

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 T lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T brown sugar
1 T curry powder
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t ground coriander
1 t chili powder
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Kebabs

1 boneless leg of lamb, trimmed & cut into 1-inch chunks (little over 2 pounds)
1 large bell pepper, stemmed, seeded & cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 1-inch pieces

Dip

1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 scallions, sliced
2 t lemon juice

Skewers - I use metal, but wood will work just fine, just be sure to soak them in water first for at least an hour or the grill will incinerate them.

Skewers Ready

For the dip, place the yogurt in a fine mesh strainer, set over a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge for 8-24 hours.  When done, discard the liquid in the bowl.  Process all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Transfer the dip to a bowl, cover with wrap and allow to refrigerate for at least an hour.

Mix together the marinade ingredients and place in a gallon size zip lock bag.  Prepare the lamb.

Sliced Lamb

Be sure to really trim out the fat.  I got lazy a few times and cursed myself for not doing a better job during prep.  Place the lamb in the bag with the marinade, force out all of the air and seal.  Allow to sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can, up to 24 hours.

Lamb Marinade

When done marinating, remove the lamb from the bag and pat dry.  The leftover marinade should be thrown away.

Thread equal part lamb, peppers and onion on to the skewers.  ATK actually told me what numbers to place on each skewer.  Contrary to popular belief, I'm not that anal.  Do what works for you.  Shoot for "visual appealing" and not "assembled by a 1st grader" unless, of course, your 1st grader is actually helping.

Loaded Skewers

Prepare the grill for direct high cooking.  The lamb will cook hot and fast and is much better on the "rare" side of the doneness scale.

Touching Flame

Figure about 7-12 minutes total cooking time.  They will need to be rotated several times during the process.  Medium rare is 120-125 F and medium, a little higher, 130-135 F.

Remove from the grill when done and allow to rest for a few minutes.  Serve immediately.

Lamb Kabobs

The dip was phenomenal and worked great with the lamb.  Although this recipe may have some long marinade times built in, prep goes pretty fast and they are cooked before you know it.  If you have the ability to plan ahead in the kitchen, unlike me, they would make a great weeknight dinner.  It's lamb.  I love it.

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